Isis - Panopticon review

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Band: Isis
Album: Panopticon
Release date: October 2004

01. So Did We
02. Backlit
03. In Fiction
04. Wills Dissolve
05. Syndic Calls
06. Altered Course
07. Grinning Mouths

Ever get the feeling you're being watched?..."FEAR OF THE DARK! FEAR OF THE DAAAARK!", not exactly. Not like being watched by Sully and Mike Watshisname from your bedroom closet. No. I'm talking about being watched. Government surveillance, chemtrail conspiracy know, Unquestionable Presence type stuff. That's what Panopticon is about. I harken to visions of nuclear warheads soaring up into the sky from undisclosed sites on the rural countryside (thanks Terminator 3).

There are no blast beats, no rawking guitar solos, and no lyrics involving death or destruction. But this album is very much a metal release, both vocally and sonically.

The music contains interludes of a "soaring" variety, incorporating an immaculate use of reverberation. These "soaring" passages are dense, and continuously build toward walls of distortion. Slowly and deliberately, each song builds a wall to the heavens. The vocalist, Aaron Turner, bluntly interjects with cries to open ceilings. "Is it there, are they there?" Like painting graffiti onto prison walls, with Panopticon, Isis magnificently create a beautiful walk on the beach, and coincidentally (or not) make it unsettling.

And if you're not looking for the album experience, I recommend "So Did We", "Backlit", "In Fiction", and the closer "Grinning Mouths". Especially for those simply looking for that metal fix, "Grinning Mouths" includes a tremendously dense and powerful outro that will ultimately give you goose-bumps before silencing.

I would really recommend the full album though. It's not terribly long at an hour, and it's a standard of the genre. This is watcha call quality atmospheric sludge righ' hurr.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10

Written by Nosurper | 13.12.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 139 users
13.12.2011 - 17:54
The Galactican
I dig the style of this review a lot. Very nicely done, sir.
13.12.2011 - 20:31
Stinky Lips
Thank you very much, I enjoyed doing it
13.12.2011 - 22:17
Nice review, and I agree an awesome album. Can't say I'm an expert on the post-metal/atmospheric sludge world, but I have heard some of the big names like Neurosis and Cult Of Luna, and nothing I've heard has reached near the level of epic-ness that Isis can. Syndic Calls came on shuffle the other day, the build-up in it is just overwhelmingly heavy, I just couldn't contain myself.
14.12.2011 - 03:53
Au Pays Natal
""Grinning Mouths" includes a tremendously dense and powerful outro that will ultimately give you goose-bumps before silencing."

this has actually brought me to tears...
16.12.2011 - 04:33
SyndicCalls404 name should say it all!

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